Daniel Farke sheds no light on Willy Gnonto rumours as Leeds United's options are thin in 2-1 Shrewsbury Town win

Daniel Farke admitted he was forced into team selections he would prefer not to have made on Wednesday, but the Leeds United manager was unable to explain exactly why.

The Whites set up a League Cup second-round tie at Salford City by coming from behind to beat Shrewsbury Town.

But a good second half performance which brought goals from Joe Gelhardt and Pascal Struijk was overshadowed by reports at full-time that Willy Gnonto had refused to play to try to engineer a transfer. Earlier in the day it was claimed Norwich City right-back Max Aarons had pulled out of a medical with Leeds to join Bournemouth instead.

Farke refused to comment on either.

RESTRICTED: Leeds United manager Daniel FarkeRESTRICTED: Leeds United manager Daniel Farke
RESTRICTED: Leeds United manager Daniel Farke
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"Willy was not available and I don't speak about any players currently under contract with a different team," said Farke, who managed Aarons at Carrow Road.

Asked if Gnonto was injured, Farke replied, "No, not available.

"I'm always open and honest but once there's a situation I can't give you the whole picture because I'm not in control of this.

"The fact is he was not available. There will be the time to make some comments."

NOTABLE BY HIS ABSENCE: Leeds United forward Willy GnontoNOTABLE BY HIS ABSENCE: Leeds United forward Willy Gnonto
NOTABLE BY HIS ABSENCE: Leeds United forward Willy Gnonto
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The Italian was notable by his absence because every other fit senior Leeds player – and there is a long list of those who are not at present – was pressed into action on Wednesday, even though Farke admitted he would have preferred some to rest.

Decisions for Saturday

"I had to make some big decisions because I got the feeling we needed to rest a few more players but the group was pretty tight," he said.

"Ethan (Ampadu), I would have preferred to leave him out for a few minutes but we have a few problems in the centre-half position at the moment.

"I got the feeling our positioning in midfield in the first half wasn't perfect so we needed him back in the position where he shone a lot in the last game.

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"(Half-time substitute) Sam Byram had a fantastic game in the second half and I was pretty pleased with his performance but it's still fine margins to keep his workload right because he had problems with injuries and a shorter pre-season. We got the feeling he couldn't play three 90 minutes within a week.

"It was good to have another 45 minutes under his belt and also that we didn't need him to play 90 minutes. I need him fit and ready for the weekend (when Leeds are at Birmingham City).

"It's a bit tricky due to our situation but the group is not overly big and if you have to play three games within six days, you have to find some pragmatic solutions.

"But we are through to the next round and hopefully we'll have a strong starting line-up at the weekend."

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Archie Gray put in another impressive 90-minute display, initially in the hole, then back alongside Amapdu in central midfield for the second half, and defender Cody Drameh was rushed back ahead of schedule.

"We need each and every player and I'm happy Cody's back after two weeks out injured and just one day of training with the team," said Farke. "Normally it's not enough to make a gameday spot but it was due to the situation without several players.

"Archie is in really good shape and his data's looked fine. Sometimes it's not easy for a 17-year-old lad.

"I can predict right now he won't play each and every minute during the season but on Wednesday it was due to the situation we didn't have that many options, especially in midfield, so he had to go again for such a long time. At the moment we've got the feeling he can handle the load."

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Farke was happy with the obvious improvement in the second half against League One Shrewsbury.

"In the first half we didn't deserve to be (behind) because it was a bit unlucky - a deflected strike, more or less their only strike and we had a few chances - but I didn't like our first-half performance that much, we moved the ball a bit too slowly and we weren't really disciplined in our positioning, our structure was not good in order to open them up," he said.

"We were not there with high intensity against the ball.

"We made a few changes in personnel terms and spoke about a few changes in our tactical position in the second half added a few more percent in terms of awareness and aggressiveness and sharpness with the ball. We were much tidier on the ball in the second half and much better, it was a really good performance.

"It was a bit like the story from the last game, 81 per cent possession, 12-1 shots in the second half, they didn't have a corner, we didn't allow them to have one chance.

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"If we had scored the third goal a bit easier it would have made our life a bit easier but we're Leeds United, we never make our life easy.

"I'm happy with the next round and a really good second half."

Leeds have been drawn away to League Two Salford, co-owned by former Manchester United players Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, in round two.